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A wild streak indeed!21 September 2014
ANSWER: The odds against being dealt three fours three hands in a row are very long indeed. To see just how long, you need to start with the distribution of hands in five-card stud poker – nearly all video poker is draw poker, but your pre-draw hand is the equivalent of a stud hand, just five cards dealt out of the 52.
There are 2,598,960 possible hands in which card order doesn’t matter. Of those, 54,912 are three of a kind. And because there are 13 card denominations, one of every 13 three-of-a-kinds are three 4s, leaving 4,224 possible three-4 hands. Divide all possible hands by the number of hands that include three 4s, and you get 615. Your chances of being dealt three 4s on any one hand are 1 in 615.
For the chances of it happening three times in a row, multiply 615x615x615. There is a 1 in 232,608,375 chance – and yes, that’s 232 million.
That seems very unlikely, and it is. However, millions of hands of video poker are played in casinos every day, and the unlikely will happen as a matter of course. You just happened to be in the right place at the right time to see it.
As for failing to draw the fourth 4 three hands in a row, that’s par for the course. After you’ve seen your first five cards, there are 47 remaining in the deck. If you hold just the three 4s and draw two cards, you have two chances in 47 to draw the final 4, which we can reduce to 1 in 23.5.
That means there are 22.5 chances in 23.5 that you will NOT draw the fourth 4. Given three hands with three 4s, there is an 87.77 percent chance that you will miss on all three.
QUESTION: I need you to explain something about Blackjack Switch. I was playing for the first time, and I had one hand with Ace-5 and one hand with 10-6. I figured I could switch the 5 and the 10, and have Ace-10 in one hand, and 5-6 for another. That would give me a blackjack and a double-down hand.
But when I signaled to switch, the dealer did it different. He switched the Ace and the 10, so now I had 10-5 and Ace-6 – really not much help at all. I told him that wasn’t the switch I wanted, but he said those were the only two cards I could switch. I could go back to the original I wanted, but I could only switch the Ace and 10.
A little while later, a woman was dealt a similar hand, and she was allowed to switch to get a blackjack. I was getting a little steamed, so I just left after that hand. What do you think was going on?
ANSWER: Most likely everything was done correctly, but you just didn’t get an adequate explanation from the dealer.
You’re permitted to switch only the second cards in each hand. You probably were dealt 5 first and Ace second in one hand, and 6 first and 10 second in the other. With that card order, the only cards you can switch are the Ace and the 10. That’s what the dealer should have explained, that only the second cards can be switched.
When the other player got her hand, no doubt the card order worked so she could switch to create a blackjack.
This article is provided by the Frank Scoblete Network. Melissa A. Kaplan is the network's managing editor. If you would like to use this article on your website, please contact Casino City Press, the exclusive web syndication outlet for the Frank Scoblete Network. To contact Frank, please e-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Best of John Grochowski